Light is more than the material that defines how we see. It’s also a metaphor for things etherial such as life, love and spirit. Importantly, light changes how we feel. It reaches beyond object and permeates space. For these reasons it’s an essential ingredient in my public artwork; it’s inclusive, available and relatable.
Kawaakari: River Of Light was created for a newly finished dining pavilion at Circle Centre Mall, Indianapolis. The brief was to make something beautiful, that would enliven the space and uplift the mood of a wide range of viewers.
After several visits to the location to soak in the environment, I began to imagine Kawaakari as winding like ribbon or river between columns that feature in the architecture of the space. I imagined an installation that enlivened the space with implied movement and shimmering, colored-light; there but not there; exciting yet subtle; delicate and organic in a mostly geometric setting. Next, I made a small wire model – scaled to a plan of the space and soon after that, presented a concept and sketches to the Circle Centre/Simon team. They invested in my vision and trusted the expertise of the fabricator, BoMar Industries. Fueled by that trust, (and a deposit) another exciting collaboration with Bomar began.
Contrary to popular belief – most artworks, especially good ones, are not imagined whole and then created close to the original idea. More often they are the result of a progression of thoughts and trial and error. For example, in the early stages of this project Bob Buchanan (BoMar principal) and I researched a special wire netting from Germany combined with integrated LED lighting. After some experimentation the netting stayed, but the LED’s were jettisoned in favor of reflective dichroic acrylic elements, and directed peripheral lighting. There are 12,000 reflective elements in this 400-foot structure. To attach them Bob spent days perfecting clips that no-one will ever notice – yet they are essential to making this sculpture’s reflections shimmer; seeming alive.
Kawaakari would not be floating so effortlessly above the dining pavilion in Indianapolis’s Circle Centre Mall without BoMar. Bob Buchanan and his team have amazing technology and know how to use it, but that’s not why I work with them. Bob has formed around him a team of skilled, dedicated individuals who possess a very special blend of creative ingenuity and inventive-engineering experience. This makes them perfect partners in ambitious endeavors of such magnitude.